Virtual property viewings in South Africa may have been a response to Covid-19 but experts say that buyers and sellers are embracing this new technology far more than just for health and safety reasons.
There are big advantages of virtual property viewings that have led property experts to believe that virtual tours and virtual showhouses will remain essential real estate sales tools post-Covid-19.
“Virtual viewing experiences are invaluable for narrowing down a pool of potential buyers to only those who are seriously interested in a property and ideally, qualified to buy it” says Craig Mott, Cape Town Regional Sales Manager for the Rawson Property Group.
“In Covid-19’s context, this is important for reducing face-to-face interactions and potential exposure to the virus but there are other safety benefits for sellers too”.
While the risk of crime during open houses is minimal with property security protocol in place, Mott says some sellers can feel uncomfortable, nonetheless. Virtual viewings offer the perfect way to reach a wide pool of buyers without revealing their address unless sellers choose to open their homes which may invite potentially unsavoury visitors.
Offering virtual tours also means that sellers will not need to spring clean and vacate their home on multiple showhouse Sundays. This, says Mott, is one of the biggest pain points of residential sales.
“Nobody enjoys having to pack up their personal belongings and valuables and find somewhere to take the kids and pets every time their house goes on show. With interactive virtual tours, you only need to prep your home once. Potential buyers can then explore virtually, in their own time and from the comfort of their own homes, without impacting you or your family at all.”
Of course, sellers will still usually need to clear out when serious buyers visit in person, but a good virtual tour should dramatically reduce the number of times this is necessary.
Virtual property tours are not just time-savers for sellers. Mott says buyers are also loving the convenience of being able to vet properties more effectively before visiting in person.
“Visiting properties can be a fun experience, but it can also become very time-intensive. Photographs seldom tell the whole story, so you inevitably end up viewing homes that do not meet your expectations and skipping ones that could be perfect but were not photographed well.”
Interactive virtual tours let buyers explore details that are not necessarily covered in the listing photographs, and experience important elements like flow, light, views, features, and flaws. This enables them to make a much more informed decision on which homes to view in person, saving valuable time.
Buyers moving to new towns, provinces or countries may not have the luxury of viewing a home in person at all. In these cases, Mott says virtual tours have become priceless during the selection process.
“Being able to explore a property without having to be physically present is a huge benefit for long-distance purchasers to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if they excluded listings without virtual viewings from consideration altogether in future.”
This, Mott says, makes virtual viewings a great way for sellers to stand out from their competition, and tap into a much wider buyer pool than before.
“Virtual property services are not a flash-in-the-pan fad, and those who have not adapted to embrace the technology are going to find themselves falling further and further behind” he concludes.